Natural wines are kinder to the environment – and to the human body – than conventional wines, according to a group who’s organised Ireland’s first natural wine week.

Natural wines have no additives or chemicals, and they have minimal processing. The result is a “living wine”, which is full of naturally occurring microbiology.

There has been a growing appreciation of natural, organic and biodynamic wines in recent years, according to Irish Michelin Star chef JP McMahon, who has organised a week of free talks by wine experts from November 19 to 25 in Tartare Café + Wine Bar.

But Italian man Enrico Fantasia, who has been selling wine in Ireland since 2003, says natural wines are often misunderstood.

“There are lots of misconceptions, most of the time people say, ‘oh they stink’, ‘they’re cloudy’.”

But he said good wine makers make good natural wines.

“There’s a romantic idea that wine is made with grapes. That’s true. But if you buy a box of chocolates in your newsagents, that box has a list of ingredients. But when you buy wine, it doesn’t say anything, it just says ‘contains sulphites’.”

But he claims: “There are thousands of chemicals that are allowed in commercial winemaking.”

“We should be a little bit more careful when we do our shopping.”

While Fantasia says many commercial wine producers make a “soft” impact on the land, others can be intensive and damaging to biodiversity.

“When you’re not using chemicals, you need to be very respectful of the land. You cannot use shortcuts, you need to have a synergy with the environment.”

“When you’re talking about intensive farming, there can be heavy spraying of all sorts of chemicals. And you need to grow as many grapes as possible even when the vintage or weather is not on your side.”

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